We are getting really close for my pick for best St. George restaurant. And believe me, I had a real internal struggle when choosing between my last two choices. I could really go 1-2 or 2-1 on these, and either way you will come out a winner. In the end the place I ended up choosing as my favorite we went there 3 nights in a row, because it was so good. Benja’s on the other hand was a real treat. This place was so good. My dinner portion was huge, so big it fed me well into the next day. Every time I burped it was the gift that kept giving. I’m not a sushi man by any stretch, but I love Thai food, and this place was the bomb.com.
We got the meal started off on the right foot with these little gems. I don’t know what they did to these things, perhaps fry them in gypsy tears? Whatever they did, they were down right delish! Eating them is easy. You just grab one with your fingers, dip them in the sauce cup, and finally throw them down the tank. Why am I stating the obvious? For Mr. White Guy Chop Sticks who likes to complicate things. We have fingers for a reason.
I’m not sure what this dish is. I believe it may be the drunken noodles which I have noticed on a lot of Thai menus. What it is doesn’t matter though. Do you see all the tantalizing colors on this bad boy? At the end of the meal the owner of this plate finished everything, so it must of been awesome.
Look at this awesome looking soup. Is that a bay leaf floating in the back or is this soup just happy to see me? This is probably one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted. If I owned a carnival, I would create a big tank full of this, and pretend I was head bobbing for apples, but there wouldn’t be any apples, just this soup. I would then fall in the tank of Tom Kha Kai on purpose, and sink to the bottom, open my mouth, and let all the soup pour in the my gut. This soup is made of coconut milk, galanga (don’t ask me what that is), mushrooms, lime, lemon grass, and scallions. There is just so much flavor, and the bowl was so big, it could have easily been a meal in itself. I feel that now that I have eaten a bowl of Tom Kha Kai I can handle any challenge that life can throw at me. I even felt a few new chest hairs later that night in my hotel. Tom Kha Kai, Tom Kha Kai, Tom Kha Kai. I want to run around in circles chanting it. This soup was freaking awesome with an emphasis on FREAK.
I was already feeling full with my pot stickers and Tom Kha Kai when the waitress hauled this beauty over to our table on a dolly and slapped it in front of me. No ladies and gentleman, this is no optical illusion, the bowl was really that big. It was probably big enough to fit a family of 3 and sail across the ocean in. This is Benja’s famous curry. I went with the Musaman curry which is coconut milk, peanuts, potatoes, carrots, onions, chili sauce, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. I opted to have them add some chicken to this making this dish “poultry” in motion. (see what I did there?) An element of this dish I really enjoyed were the peanuts. It added a random crunch here and there, and made the dish not only delicious, but the texture was awesome too. Ugh if it were not for the summer heat, I would go back to St. George in a jiffy.
At this point in the meal, I clearly wasn’t thinking clearly. My stomach was so full of food that my brain had diverted all power to my stomach cavity for digesting. My brain and decision-making were on backup power only. That is why when the waitress asked me if I wanted Mango sticky rice for desert, I just said yes. Let’s see mangos? Check. Sticky Rice? Check. White creamy icing? Check. Yeah all the elements of a great Thai desert were there.
Benja was an absolute treat. I have to admit the first thing that went through my head when I drove past the restaurant was the movies back in the 80’s with the dog? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has ever seen “Benji the Hunted?” Benja Thai and Sushi is a unique Thai experience in St. George. It is well worth going off the beaten I-15 path and over to the Red Cliffs Mall area. No regrets here.
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